Explore: Media

PA to Publishing Director

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Lisa K

Yes, I’m Lisa K. I’m a PA to the Publishing Director at the National Magazine Company, part of the Cosmopolitan group. The main areas of my job involve looking after the Publishing Director, making sure that her diary is all in order, and basically making sure that her day runs as smoothly as possible and runs as efficiently as possible, so answering her phone calls, doing her expenses, looking after any travel arrangements that she needs, you know, anything from just booking cars for her to travel abroad, hotels, trains, planes, you know, anything that she needs, basically.

00:00:58 I chose not to go onto university when I left school because at the time it wasn’t really what I wanted. I was doing a lot of work experience in any holidays, and I think because it was that kind of work I was doing it just seemed like the easy option, I suppose, at that time when I left school, to carry on doing the work experience, and then to get working and start earning money. I suppose that’s what I was thinking at the time. I mean I think I thought that probably it was a bit of a waste of time going to university because I just didn’t know what I wanted to do and I didn’t, you know, have any sort of inkling at all.

00:01:38 And I think at that age it’s probably easier to think ‘Oh, I’ll give it a year or two and then go back and do something,’ but, you know, it’s not quite as easy to go back as if you’d done it at the beginning when you first left. If I could do it all again, I would do it differently, I will admit. I would definitely go to university, or, you know, do something.

00:02:01 I remember having one of those ‘Girl About Town’ magazines that they give out at the tube stations, and I was just flicking through one lunchtime and I saw an advert for the PA to the HR Director at Nat Mags. I just there and then sort of sent off my CV, not really thinking much of it, and about probably about five weeks later I just got a phone call asking me to come in for an interview. I’d actually forgotten that I’d sent my CV off because, I just, you know, that’s sort of like how seriously I took it. I’d had no experience of working in the magazine industry. You always just assume that the competition and the, you know, the amount of applications are going to be so humungous that you just probably won’t have a chance, but it just goes to show, doesn’t it?

00:02:50 When I got the PA role in the HR department here at Nat Mags, I was actually partway through training to be a counsellor, and then when I got the role in HR I couldn’t carry on and do both, so I had to make a choice, and I thought the opportunity was just too good to waste. So I thought you just don’t know what might come of it and where it might lead, or who I might meet through doing it, whereas I’d already done the first part of the counselling qualification, and that will never change, and I can always go back to doing that, I suppose, if I ever choose to.

00:03:28 But you don’t get the opportunity every day, do you, just to work on a great magazine company.

00:03:36 I’m completely different at work to how I am at home. At work I’m really organised, and I know where things are, and what’s happening when, and where things are, and at home I’m just completely different. I’m just messy, and not organised, and can’t find anything. I’m just… I am completely different at home and personally. It’s really funny, isn’t it? I don’t know why.


Lisa K is the PA to the Publishing Director at National Magazine Company. She says “the opportunity was just too good to waste” when she saw the advert in a free magazine. She thinks she is fortunate to work in the magazine industry.

More information about Personal assistants and other secretaries

average salary

The UK average salary is £29,813

average weekly hours

There are 37.5 hours in the average working week

6%  male 
94%  female 

The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male

Future employment

Future employment?

? Personal assistants and other secretaries provide administrative and secretarial support to individuals, departmental or management teams within organisations.
There are no minimum academic requirements, although entry to professional secretarial courses typically requires GCSEs/S grades. NVQs/SVQs are available in Administration at Levels 2, 3 and 4.
  • Acts as a first point of contact for a manager or team with colleagues and people from outside organisations, fields telephone enquiries, takes and passes on messages;
  • Arranges appointments, keeps business diary, organises travel arrangements, makes reservations and organises a variety of functions;
  • Opens, sorts, distributes and files correspondence (in hard copy and electronic) and deals directly with routine correspondence;
  • Uses appropriate software to produce correspondence, memoranda, reports, presentations and other documents from drafts, handwritten copy or by transcribing dictation;
  • Arranges and attends meetings, takes minutes and prepares records of proceedings;
  • Translates documents and liaises with overseas clients and suppliers.
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